BMT Asia Pacific Limited (BMT) was appointed by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) to benchmark and verify the contents of the Department's online version Environmental Performance Report 2009 (EPR 2009). The Report describes the environmental, as well as social and economic performance of EPD during the calendar year of 2008.

The verification process intends to provide EPD's stakeholders with an external assurance of the accuracy and completeness of information presented in the Report.

This Statement is issued based on:

Independent third party opinion – BMT was not involved in any aspects of the preparation of Report; and

- The findings of a verification process that involved validation of a representative selection of data and claims, checking of data collection mechanisms and information management systems, assessment of the report's comprehensiveness, and identification of areas to improve EPD's reporting process.

During the verification process, a series of interviews covering data review sessions was held between 28th July and 3rd August of 2009 with EPD's divisional representatives including EPD's senior professional and technical staff. BMT reviewed the selected claims and reported figures, examined and checked supporting data and documented evidence, as well as data collation systems. Where further investigation was necessary to confirm claims, additional information was requested and reviewed.

In parallel with the assurance engagement process, a benchmarking exercise was also conducted to identify possible areas for future improvement in the annual environmental performance reporting. EPR 2009 is compared against local and international reports, reference guidelines and standards, in which evaluation results would be presented in the form of conclusions and recommendations.

Results and Commentary
Report Accuracy

Data collection mechanisms and information management systems are generally considered to be reliable, efficient, organised and effective. In particular, data were systematically collected, recorded, filed, endorsed and analysed following prescribed procedures. Specific data used to support claims and compile reported figures were correctly retrieved and appropriately interpreted.

- The claims made in EPR 2009 examined by BMT represent an accurate account of EPD's actions and performance in 2008. EPD has made amendments, to BMT's satisfaction, to clarify some minor claims and figures that were deemed unclear during the verification.

Report Coverage and Relevance

EPR 2009 provides a balanced overview of EPD's performance in 2008 with respect to its roles and responsibilities in Hong Kong, key programme areas, relevant projects, and significant aspects related to daily operations and services.

- EPD's ongoing measures to address impacts from its own operations and services on the Hong Kong community were clearly set out in the Report. Communications with different stakeholders were also discussed. EPD has graphically presented the major year-on-year trends in services and environmental performance, and presented progress of targets for 2008, and sets out targets for year 2009.
- EPR 2009 considerably responded to feedback from EPR 2008 with the shortening of report text and provision of links between main text and targets to improve the readability.

Recommendations for Future Reports
EPD is encouraged to:

Enhance the comprehensiveness of the report by further discussing the internal staff management issues.

- Further enhance stakeholder engagement process to proactively engage report stakeholders to collect constructive feedback for report content enhancement.
- Continuously move towards sustainability reporting with reference to the internationally recognised Global Reporting Initiative's G3 Guideline, including application level achieved when reporting.

Winnie Chu
Associate Director
BMT Asia Pacific Limited